Remember the funny names of the characters on Old Maid playing cards? I found a now-vintage deck of Old Maid playing cards in one of my grandma and grandpa Imm’s boxes of saved stuff.  

My cousins and siblings and I played with these cards in the late 1960s and early 70s. The box I was sorting through looked like a collection of items from a desk drawer. There were notepads and vintage pencils and calendars and newspaper clippings and things I just don’t know what to do with.

It may be safe to say whoever emptied the desk drawers into a cardboard box had no idea it would be sorted through decades later. I am sure they were not thinking ‘hey I will just empty these desk drawers into this box and in the year 2020 – Ruth and Vern’s daughter will sort through it.’

And as Ruth and Vern’s daughter was lifting items from the box – she found herself thinking they didn’t make the decision 50 years ago about what to do with it – and now the decision is even more difficult – because the items have become vintage. This is like a plot twist.

Certainly someone would want that old insurance agency calendar from 1966. Or the Farm Bureau pencil. Or the Bible’s Sohio Service carbon receipt book. After all – the Bible family owned the business for many years. They may want to be reminded of the business address – E. City Limits on U.S. 6 and the phone number was 298-9504 – no need to dial the area code back then.

On the back of the Bible’s Sohio Service receipt was the thank you to the customer. If you were pleased with the goods and treatment, they asked you to tell your friends, and if not – tell them. If the bill was not correct, they would gladly correct it. And they ask you keep the bill for future reference.

As I sort through the boxes, I can become overwhelmed with the ‘what to do with this stuff’ feeling. I think I might just make someone’s day if I give them an item that once belonged in their family – and on the other hand – not.

Then I find this deck of Old Maid cards, and the first card I pick up has a picture of a guy by the name of Lemmie Think.  And I laughed. I was really tired of thinking. No more thinking. Just sort. Do. Clean up. Recycle. Throw stuff away. Find a friend who wants a little what-not from 1968.

But thanks – Grandma and Grandpa – for the deck of cards. My grandsons and I sat on the couch together and read the names of the characters and laughed at most of them as we repeated their names. The cards provided a new vocabulary only my grandsons and I can speak. When we ask a question of each other – a likely answer is ‘Lemmie Think.’

Sometimes my grandchildren and I decide it is time to sing. One of us will let others know that when you need to say something – you must sing it as if you are in a musical. The next thing you know someone is singing for you to please pass the potatoes. I’ve noticed the hands tend to go in motion and the more serious ‘musical’ face is made as someone actually sings their next statement.

You should try it – next time you need to speak to someone – just turn to them and sing it like you are in a musical. Your voice will surprise you. And the person beside you – who is not reading this at the moment – will wonder why you are singing to them as if you are in a musical.

Perhaps life is a musical. After all, most of us wake up and start singing about what a beautiful morning it is. We put on our little checkered dress and head outside to the apple orchard. Our handsome boyfriend is there, and we sing about how people will say we’re in love – while we pick a few apples. We can really sing – and we keep wonderful eye contact and he grabs my hand, and we stroll just a bit.  He pulls me close to him at times and tells me everything is going his way.

I feel bad for those who tell me their life is really more like a game of Old Maid. One of the characters on my new deck of cards goes by I. M. Cranky. There is a Hazel Hazzit and a guy named Weary Stoops who needs to lean over and pick up some cash.

If we had to identify with one of the cards – mine would probably be Hazel Hazzit – for she has a book in her hand and a bag on the other arm. But my name starts with an ‘M’ and I felt I needed to make up a character for myself. And certainly my grandchildren would want to design one for themselves.

Coming up with something that starts with an M should be easy – there is magnificent and marvelous and miraculous. Moody would work, but it really doesn’t describe me.

It did occur to me the word “Tattooed” could be used for anyone who has a name starting with a T, and then I remembered my grandsons Toby and Thomas decorated themselves one time when we didn’t realize craft time was left unsupervised.

The two let their artistic talents get the best of them – and they shocked the family when they wanted us to see how creative they really could be. They even demonstrated how they were able to draw on their own backs.

I once heard a minister speak about raising up a child and one of the most misunderstood bible passages – which he states is Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The minister explained we have mistakenly interpreted this to mean we should teach our children to pray and teach them the Ten Commandments and take them to church and Sunday school regularly. And we think if the child would someday depart from what we have taught them – they will return.

He went on to state that ‘training up’ really means the child needs to be nurtured and shown purpose and direction they should individually go. Every child has a unique personality and is gifted in different ways – some are artistic or have writing or singing or drawing abilities. Some are athletic. Some are strong-willed and others are more mild-mannered. And we should recognize those gifts and nurture them as intended.

It doesn’t take long for a child to start showing off their one-of-a-kind personality, and we can help each child discover the path created just for them to follow. As they mature, we of course continue to help them figure out what their character’s name is going to be.   

The Old Maid Disclaimer:

Life is going to deal some cards your way – and you’re going to have to play them.  Please remember the character on your card is not developed through the luck of the draw, but rather through the choices we make and the thoughts we think and the cares we keep.

You will be leaving the deck of cards behind for your grandchildren to inherit, and you will have some influence on the character they design for themselves. 

If life dealt a bad card to you – one of the best things you can do is pretend you have better cards in your hand. You do not have to let others know the Moody card is actually in your hand. They also have no interest in your I.M. Cranky card.

People around you hope and pray you decide to play your good character cards. You may want to sing about how great your life is. Hum if you have to.

Don’t make them wonder who it is you are in love with – for they do not want to play their ‘Lemmie Think’ card.   

Tattooed Toby and Tattooed Thomas